Please welcome Melissa Eskue Ousley, paranormal romance author, sharing about her adventurous heroine in her paranormal romance novel.
Abby Brown had never traveled anywhere until she discovered a portal to another world, hidden in the ruins of a mansion in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California. Her adventures began with a dream about a handsome young man who was being hunted by shadowy monsters. After meeting the doppelgänger of the boy in her visions, she learns that David Corbin is the lost prince of Cai Terenmare, a magical realm threatened by a tyrant named Tynan Tierney. When she encounters one of the bogeymen hell bent on killing David, she realizes that monsters are real, and she must save the boy she loves so he can reclaim his throne.
Abby is an adventurous heroine because she is willing to take risks to save those she loves. Although she nearly died protecting David from the vicious creature who murdered his parents, she helps David return to his world and vows to help him defeat Tierney, the self-proclaimed King of Blood and Shadows. To win the war, David and Abby must travel across Cai Terenmare in search of allies. They brave a deadly rainforest, fighting venomous toads and a lamia. They cross a desert to meet with an arrogant oracle, and then must flee his city when Tierney’s forces attack. Abby also travels in her dreams, discovering Tierney’s secrets and searching for a way to bring peace to her new world.
Abby’s favorite location, however, is Caislucis, David’s castle on the western coast of Cai Terenmare. The ivory castle becomes her home, a sanctuary where she learns to use her skills as a seer and dreamwalker. With the threat of the Sower, an enigmatic monster spreading seeds of discord across Cai Terenmare, David will need Abby’s help to stop both Tierney and the creature he puppeteers. If they don’t, the throne at Caislucis will fall into Tierney’s hands, and the kingdom will be destroyed.
I was inspired to write Abby’s story by my own travels. Caislucis was inspired by castles I saw in Europe, and one of the portals in Cai Terenmare was inspired by an experience in Puerto Rico, when I swam in a bioluminescent lagoon. The idea of the bogeymen masquerading as stray cats also came to me in Puerto Rico. One night I was exploring El Morro, a fortress in Old San Juan. I had a strange feeling of being watched, and when I turned, I saw glowing yellow eyes and a dark feline silhouette. Although I like cats, the experience was a little unnerving—but great writing fodder.
Newcastle Beach is based on Santa Barbara, California, and my travels to Australia also inspired various locations in Cai Terenmare, such as the Southern Oracle’s rainforest and the Wasteland, a desert of scarlet sand where time stands still. The forests of Cai Terenmare are inspired by the Tolkien forests of Oswald West State Park on the Oregon coast, close to where I live.
If I could visit any place in the world, I would go to Thailand. The architecture and mythology of Thailand are fascinating, and I’ve had the privilege of learning about the culture because of my sister-in-law’s Thai heritage. I’m currently writing a new young adult book featuring an adventurous heroine who is Thai-American. Sunset Empire is set in Astoria, Oregon and explores legends from the Pacific Northwest.
Abby shuffled after the hopping raven. Ahead, gleaming like a gem on the scarlet sand, was something that sparkled sapphire. As her stumbling steps brought her closer, she could see the jewel’s form wavering in the heat, becoming a shallow pool. Water.
For the first time she became aware of her thirst, and once she was aware, her thirst grew, blistering her throat. The desire to drink grew stronger than the force that had pulled her to her feet to follow the raven, more compelling than the counting that had held her in the grip of a trance for so long. How long, she did not know. Perhaps she had counted for a day, perhaps for a thousand years. There was no time here. The sun, forever frozen in place, remained at its peak in the cobalt sky.
She knelt at the edge of the pool. The water was strange—a dark blue, almost as dark as the sky, but murky, so she could not see the bottom of the reservoir. Gold particles drifted through the depths as though silt at the bottom had been stirred, but she could see no fish, no signs of life.
She cupped her hands, intending to draw up a drink to quench her miserable thirst, when she felt a hand on her shoulder. In the reflection of the water, she could see that the hand belonged to a man.
“Stop,” he said. “Do not touch the water.”
Startled, she whipped her head around to identify her visitor. There was no one behind her. She rose to her feet, scanning the endless sand bordering the water. She was alone, except for the raven standing by her side. The bird stared up at her and then glanced down at the pool. She followed the raven’s gaze and realized he was casting no reflection, though she and the man were mirrored on the water’s glassy surface.
“Where are you?” Abby called. “Why can I only see you in the water?”
“Because,” the man explained, “the water is only an illusion. It is the ghost of something that once existed. As am I.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Eskue Ousley is the award-winning author of The Solas Beir Trilogy, a young adult fantasy series. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a piranha, her family, and their Kelpie, Gryphon. Her interests in psychology, culture, and mythology have influenced her writing.
The Solas Beir Trilogy: